Archive | June, 2012

Judge Rightly

19 Jun

 You have not spoken of Me what is right. —Job 42:7

After a national news magazine posted an online story listing my community as one of the top-10 dying cities in the nation, local citizens were outraged. They registered their indignation, pointing out evidence to the contrary. One resident went to great lengths to disprove the harsh judgment. He recruited local citizens to show up downtown and appear in a video that showcased the vibrancy of our community. The video received international attention, and the news magazine admitted it was wrong. But the organization that had done the “research” stood by the conclusion, even though it was based on limited criteria.

Their self-defense surprised me because their careless conclusion seemed indefensible. But then I thought of how common it is to make faulty judgments based on minimal information. One of the classic biblical examples is that of Job’s friends. They wrongly concluded that because a series of tragedies happened to him, Job had sinned.

In the end, God defended Job and offered a startling conclusion. He didn’t rebuke his friends for judging Job but for speaking falsely about Himself (Job 42:7). This is a humbling reminder that when we make careless judgments about others, we are sinning against God.

Lord, please restrain my lips when I’m tempted to say what I shouldn’t say about people made in Your image. Use my words to bless and not harm. May I reflect Your heart.

OUR LOVE FOR CHRIST IS ONLY AS REAL AS OUR LOVE FOR OUR NEIGHBOR.

Hidden Away

17 Jun

Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. —Psalm 119:11

By the time I was born, my great- grandfather, Abram Z. Hess, had already lost his sight. He was known for the beautiful wooden objects he had carved on a lathe—and also as someone who could quote many verses of Scripture. He and his friend Eli would often share Scripture verses back and forth. A bit of a competitive spirit resulted in their admission that Eli could cite more references while my grandfather could recite more verses.

Today, the family often remembers Abram as “Blind Grandpa.” His practice of memorizing Scripture became a lifeline for him when he lost his physical sight. But why is it important that we memorize the Word of God?

Psalm 119 gives us instruction on how to follow God by hiding His Word in our hearts. First, in this way, we arm ourselves when temptation comes (v.11; Eph. 6:17). Then, as we meditate on His Word, we come to know Him better. Finally, when we have His words etched in our minds, we are better able to hear His voice when He instructs and guides us. We use those phrases of Scripture as we talk with Him, worship Him, and teach or witness to others (Col. 3:16).

The Word of God is “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). Hide its precious words away “in [your] heart” (Ps. 119:11)where they will always be with you.

Lord, Your Word is a treasure—priceless and beyond compare. I’m not the best at memorizing but I do want Your words to saturate my mind and heart. Please use Your Word in obvious ways in my life today.

WHEN GOD’S WORD IS HIDDEN IN OUR HEART, HIS WAYS WILL BECOME OUR WAYS.